Monday, April 23, 2018

Southern Kentucky Book Festival Part I

Hey everyone. The family and I are home safe and sound from our recent Bowling Green, Kentucky trip where I participated in my fifth Southern Kentucky Book Festival. I know I've said this more than once, but this festival is one of my all time favorites. Not only is it run well by the amazing
Sarah Volpi and her awesome volunteer staff, it is a place of unimaginable fun. A place where I catch up with literary friends, make new friends, engage with readers, and convince friends and random strangers to take lots of photos for me____lots!

This year I posed with some of my kidlit besties like Mark Wayne Adams author, illustrator, and owner of  a paper bow tie. Be sure to click on the link above and check out his long list of fabulous work.

Me, Mark, and accidental photo bomber and new friend Alisha Klapheke

And Debbie Dadey who reveled with delight along side me when we met the oh so famous and oh so nice Loren Long. Debbie, who I aspire to be like, with her hundreds of  Bailey School Kid and Mermaid Tail books.

Debbie Dadey, Loren Long, and Me

And of course no visit would be complete without advice from my girl MG author Gail Nall, a hug from my girl MG author Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, and a smile from my girl children's author JessicaYoung.

Debbie Dadey, Me, Gail Nall, and new friend Stephanie Faris
New friend Jennifer Maschari, Me, and Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
New friend and panel mate Holly Niner, Me, Jessica Young, and Gail Nall
You can't even imagine how much laughing goes on when I hang with these fabulous ladies and gents. I just wished laughing burned more calories, lol. If you've ever been to a book fair you know the plethora of books can be overwhelming, so I encourage you to check out the links I've provided and browse these authors wonderful books at your leisure.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for SOKY part two, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches and A Light House

April just seems to be flying by and this past week once again found Emily and me attending the monthly meeting of Cook Book Club at our library. Each month we have a theme and April's theme was sandwiches. I made tuna salad sandwiches and Emily made peanut butter and jelly cookie sandwiches. If you love peanut butter, then your taste buds will surely be tickled by this marvelous concoction.


Peanut butter and Jelly Cookies                                              

2 sticks soft butter
1 cup brown sugar packed
½ cup sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350. In mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add Peanut butter and mix thoroughly. Add egg and vanilla. Lastly, add dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. Divide dough into forty pieces and roll into balls. Dip tops in sugar and place on a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Flatten slightly with a fork using a criss-cross pattern. Bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and lt cool about five minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Peanut Butter Buttercream & Jam

6 TBS soft butter
½ smooth peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tsp heavy cream
1 jar strawberry jam

Whip butter and peanut butter together until combined.  Add sugar. Finally, add cream and beat until fluffy. Spread mixture on half of the cookies. Spread jam on the remaining cookies. Put halves together forming sandwiches. (Makes 20)

This past week also found me reading a fantastic book titled Hello Light House. I enjoyed this book immensely for so many reasons. The illustrations are detailed, quite beautiful, and help tell the story; so pay careful attention to them when you explore this book on your own. The story tells of both the life of a light house and the life of a light house keeper. The end papers are a wonderful addition with both pictures and facts about light houses. Even the back cover is of interest depicting the inside view of a lighthouse from top to bottom. A fantastic  looking glass into history, Hello Light House is sure to please even the pickiest of readers.


 Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.




Monday, April 9, 2018

Wacky Weather, Car Care, and Beautiful Books

I don't know what's happening in your neck of the woods weather wise, but here in Ohio it's been a roller coaster of wackiness. We started the week only to have April Fools surprise us with the temperature dropping to below below freezing and snow. Day two offered rain by the bucketfuls. Day three was so windy the rain dried up everything but a puddle where there is a dip in my front yard. Day four it snowed some more and the lone remaining puddle froze creating an ice rink just the right size for chipmunks had they been inclined to skate. Day five gave us a reprieve from snow, but boy was it cold. Day six arrived overcast and cold, but not as cold as the day before. And finally day seven we had bright sunshine which gave the illusion that the cold had subsided. Illusion I say because it was still colder than snot.


It was on day six of this crazy week that I took my car in for an oil change. I thought this would be a good idea as we are getting ready to travel to the Southern Kentucky Book Festival in a week and a half. Needless to say, that day didn't go as planned. I decided to wait at our local repair shop while they changed the oil, but as the hour drew to a close, the technician informed me that I needed my tires rotated and I needed new brakes. I felt like April Fools Day had returned when my bill shot from $40 to nearly $400. At least our trip will occur in a well maintained car this year.

So finding two beautiful books in my to review stack sort of perked up my cold, expensive week. The first book, Albert and Sarah Jane, tells the tale of best friends who love to cuddle by the fire in a warm, doggy, kitty, snuggle, lump. The only thing Albert loves more than snuggling with Sarah Jane is eating kibble. Unfortunately after gobbling up all of his, he can't control his temptation to nibble on Sarah Jane's as well. This leads to a squabble and Sarah Jane moves out. Albert misses Sarah Jane tremendously and begs her to come. How they manage to resolve their squabble is definitely something you and your littles will want to read and find out for yourselves.


The second book, Wakem the Rooster Up All Night, has the barnyard in a tizzy when Wakem the Rooster allows the compliments about his voice to go to his head. Wakem sings all day and into the night and ends up with a backward sleeping schedule. Awake at night and asleep during the day, Wakem causes the sheep to run away in an attempt to find a quiet place to sleep. Will Wakem find the sheep and will he be able to rectify the problem? Be sure to grab a copy of your own and find out!


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Great Celebration and Two Great Books

This past week we celebrated Easter and my youngest nephew's birthday. His birthday is significant because my father passed away three days before he was born, and this is how I keep track of how long he's been gone. In addition, during our time of sorrow those six years ago, my nephew's birth gave us a reason to rejoice and to this day he continues to bring great joy to our family!



The first book I read for my review brought me joy as well. When I saw it on the shelf at my library, a little tingle went up my spine as I immediately recognized it as a book by my friend and fellow Ohioan, Lisa Amstutz. Lisa's book, Applesauce Day, tells the tale of a family and a special pot. A pot that has been used through the generations to make applesauce. A simple, ordinary pot signifying family ties, stories, love, and traditions. A pot passed from Great Grandmother to Grandmother to Daughter. A pot that causes a little girl to dream of the day it will be passed on to her.


Besides a wonderful story that both children and adults will enjoy, Lisa gives added value by including her family's recipe for applesauce and some interesting apple facts. So if you've never tried home made applesauce and have a love of stories that encourage family togetherness, run out and grab a copy for yourselves.

The second book I read, made me laugh. I laughed not because the pages contained humor, but because it rang true. In Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth, a small rabbit wants to go to the circus, but his mother tells him he can't go until he cleans his playroom. Grumbling and complaining the entire time, Little Rabbit manages to make more of a mess instead of tidying up and loses his chance to attend. He decides to sneak out and only to find that the Ringmaster will not let him join the circus unless he has a talent causing Little Rabbit to declare that he has the Meanest Mother on Earth.


The Ringmaster tells him if he can sell 100 tickets he can bring his mother and join the circus. Several exaggerations later he has sold his tickets and conned his mother into coming. Needless to say the crowd are not wowed by the ordinary, non mean looking mother. How the story ends is quite heartwarming, but I don't want to give too much away, so just grab a copy from your nearest book store or library.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Quality Time

Hey everyone. Sorry there wasn't a post last week, but a cold took hold of me, and I was just too sniffy and drippy to get much of anything done but the laundry. This past week sailed by much more cheerfully. Emily finished up her school work, and we are both looking forward to this week's spring break. Bobby and I went looking for new flooring for our living room and have someone coming to measure very soon. And, I sold Emily's old kitchen set which added to our travel fund.


At the end of May, Emily, my sister, and I are planning to visit Niagara Falls. It's been many years since I've been there and Emily has never been there, so it should prove exciting. We have plans to view the falls, visit the aquarium, and check out what Goat Island has to offer. I should probably go see what reading material my library has on the falls.


We also spent some quality time as a family playing Board games and Emily only had a slight case of electronic device withdrawal.


 And last but not least, I read two fine picture books. The first book, Sing, Don't Cry, was a sweet book about a brother and sister's Abuelo (Grandfather) visiting from Mexico. He shared with them his life long experience on how to deal with disappointments and difficulties which was to___ sing, don't cry. The end papers of the author's real Abuelo, who looked handsome in his Mexican musician ensemble, are definitely worth spending a few minutes on before the actual reading commences.


The second book, Hooked, had me hooked. A book about a boy who loves fishing and wishes his dad loved fishing too has the most beautiful of endings. While definitely about fishing, the underlying theme of spending quality time together shines through superbly. I give this book a five out of five stars!


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.






Monday, March 12, 2018

Board Games and Books!

I love board games. I have always loved board games. I have many fond memories of days spent playing Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Chinese Checkers, Sorry, Card Games, and Yahtzee with my mom and brother. Occasionally, even my dad joined in on the fun. So it is no surprise that I have raised Emily on board games and cards. We often play Boggle, Trouble, or Uno, and recently, she received Clue for Christmas.

It took me a while to convince her that trying a new game would be fun, but this past weekend she decided it was time to try. She convinced her father to join our merry band and with instructions in hand we set out on a grand adventure. The rules were a little fuzzy as it has been years since I'd played, but after a while it all sorted itself out and, we had a wonderful time.


And as promised last week, I read the second book in my library pile by Tadgh Bentley titled Samson The Piranha Who Went to Dinner. I figured I would enjoy this story as much as I did Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups, but in actuality, I might have enjoyed it a bit more. Samson is a different Piranha and he wants to dine out. The problem is, all the other guests at the restaurants he tries, flee in terror when his disguises fail. That is until he finds a restaurant with some other fearsome looking fish like himself. In they end, they decide to open a restaurant of their own!


In honor of recently reaching the 5000 follower mark on Twitter, I also read Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds. I had no idea what this book would be about, and found it quite interesting. Nerdy Birdy and Vulture are total opposites but still manage to be best friends. That is until Nerdy Birdy becomes obsessed with Tweetster, gaining Tweetster friends, and posting pictures to Tweetster. Unfortunately in doing so, he hurts Vulture's feelings and has to figure out a way to make things better. A beautiful story showing that social media can be fun if it doesn't cause us to ignore the real world and our friends.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, March 5, 2018

March, In Like A Lion Out Like A Lamb

As the saying goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Or so I hope. I can vouch for the in like a lion part. One day here in Ohio we're enjoying almost sixty degree weather and the next day we're tolerating snow. It's slowly melting away, but not nearly fast enough for my liking. On the bright side, however, it's no longer dark at five o'clock!


So while we wait for March to warm up some here at the Stewart house, we continue home schooling, we recover from colds and coughs, and we try on dresses at Kohl's. Well, Emily tries on dresses, and I take pictures of the amazing event as we Stewart girls aren't known for dress wearing.


And, of course, I read wonderful picture books. This week I read two books. I read Accident by Andrea Tsurumi and Little Penguin Gets The Hiccups by Tadgh Bentley.

Accident is a colorful book about____ you guessed it, accidents. Lola Armadillo spills a drink on the living room chair and in a panic decides she must run away to the library and live there until she is grown up because they have books and bathrooms. Along the way she runs into many others having not so great days of there own. In the end, she realizes that accidents happen to everyone and it is just bet to fess up. The illustrations are quite detailed and you'll want to take extra time looking at each scene a you read this adorable story.


And I don't know about you, but I enjoy every part of a book from the end papers to the author and illustrator's biographies. In the case of both of these books, the author and the illustrator were one in the same, but I was surprised to find out that the author/illustrator of Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups, Tadgh, is actually from my neck of the woods. He currently lives in the Hocking Hills Area of Ohio, a place I have visited and enjoyed many times.

And Little Penguin with his hiccups he can't get rid of made me laugh. Emily often gets hiccups and we use the same cure Little Penguins friend uses. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll let you read and find out just what that cure is yourself.


I enjoyed another surprise when I looked through my stack of library books. I had also picked up a second book by Tadgh Bentley which I will share with you next week.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.